Four months and over 20,000 miles later...
Terry Hershner is way ahead of the rest of us, solving problems most of us don't even know are coming
Terry Hershner is a remarkable person. He likes to compete. He likes to set records. He is especially fond of coast to coast records. He is obsessed with pushing the limits of electric motorcycles. He is learning things nobody else knows.

Back in June of 2013, Terry rode across the US - by himself - in less than 6 days. The team Moto-Electra, led by Brian Richardson subsequently shortened that time to 3 days. Terry thinks he can do it faster.

Fixing problems we did not know about:


TerryI added 3 additional battery packs weighing 60 pounds each or 180 pounds together.  That was in addition to the 180 pounds of batteries already on the bike.  This doubled his capacity from 9 kilowatt hours, to 18 kilowatt hours, raising the battery weight from 180 pounds on the stock motorcycle to 360 pounds of battery weight on the cross country prepped version. When he ran out of juice, he stopped and recharged.

Terry discovered that more chargers help. The more chargers he carried on board, the faster his batteries could be recharged.

Terry began adding chargers, tucking him in where he could. On his cross country ride, Terry carried 11 chargers. The chargers alone weighed 200lbs.

When his bike tipped over, he could not pick it up by himself.

This extra weight needs to be dealt with.


With all those chargers, Terry could accept power faster than the new commercial J1772 Charge Stations, using both "nozzles" at a time, could provide. (picture above)

He needed more electricity, faster!

Terry found that could charge much faster at standard at RV park 50 amp hook ups. But he had no way of knowing how much power he was taking and no easy way of knowing how much to pay for that power. Some RV Park owners charged him a minimum "Tenter's hookup" fee. Some gave it to him for free. Some didn't know how to deal with him at all.

Like gasoline, the cost of electricity varies from place to place. In addition, the local road tax must be added in to get a comparable cost.

These problems need to be dealt with.


We had expected winds to be an issue on the road. But winds turned out to be a problem at charging time. In windy areas - spelled Texas - Terry had to stay awake so he could hold his bike up against the winds. If it fell over, he could not pick it up.

This problem needs to be dealt with.

Streamlining and riding two-up riding:

In constructing Terry's streamlining, we gave no consideration to carrying a passenger. After his record setting attempts, Terry removed the rear section so he could carry a passenger. He aso wanted to see how having no rear bodywork affected energy use.

There was a huge a difference in performance and power consumption. Everything got worse.

Obviously, the tail - even his truncated tail - is very important for slipping through the air efficiently.

Sometimes it is nice to carry a friend
Terry returned to my shop, anxious to finish the tail and bring it to a proper point.
Terry and Jeremiah Johnson, a fellow Zero racer, roughed out the shape and structure in 1/2" by 1/2" aluminum angles. I was recovering from my hip operation and was not much help. The new tail turned out to be almost a foot longer than the one on my Helix. If anything, I'd have made it shorter.

But this is what we have. Lets use it as a test bed.

What will happen on the road? At windy Texas charging stations? This will be a good test of how an extreme tail reacts.

First road reports from Terry:

Terry says that side winds don't seem to affect him any more than before. He reports that it accellerates dramatically faster between 90 and 110 mph.This makes sense.

We already know: "The higher the speed, the longer the tail"

For the purposes of riding at speeds that are legal on the US roads, the wind at 100mph is the same as going 70mph, into a 30 mph headwind. With that in mind, there is an optimum The next step is to reskin this milk carton paper with pressure sensitive vinyl. The vinyl bonds to the paper, making it much stronger and durable.

I see a new problem: Where will Terry put his license plate?

Tom Finch has quite a history in solving airplane aero problems. Among other things, he helped to make the beautiful Lear Jet fly faster with less fuel. Today Tom builds very high quality, low drag "Tailwind" trailers for motorcycles.

Tom has offered a number of suggestions, which we will be trying. He thinks the tail should have an outline more like the above red line. I can't wait to try his ideas. Thanks, Tom.
Chelsea will direct Terry on the road - like R2D2 - so he can concentrate on piloting. In between duties, she plans to cat nap. At charging times, Terry will sleep, she will stay awake, pay for charging and make sure Terry is up as soon as the batteries are filled. Terry now has so many chargers, his sleep time is very short.

October 26, 2013: A test ride to LA to pick up more chargers.
Terry says he is going to set a new coast to coast record for electric vehicles.

Stay tuned

Revised Nov 15, 2013

Posted Oct 18, 2013